SAVE THE DATE! The "Defense Industry Reelection Event" for former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) is at 8:30 a.m. Thursday at the Capitol Hill Club.

Join Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.), chairman of the House defense appropriations subcommittee, House Armed Services Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) and many of their colleagues who are getting together to help the embattled DeLay, who may actually have a competitive race next year.

The sponsors are a half-dozen defense lobby heavyweights: Greg Dahlberg, a former Army undersecretary and former aide to Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.), now with Lockheed Martin; Northrop Grumman's Diane Harper; American Defense International's Michael H. Herson; Letitia White of Copeland Lowery & Jacquez; defense consultant Al Jackson; and Doug Ritter of General Dynamics.

This is not a coffee and doughnuts affair. We're talking a sit-down with maybe some bacon and eggs, possibly even a pancake or two. Better yet, you can rub shoulders and set up golf outings with key GOP members of the two powerful House committees, including Henry Bonilla (Tex.), Ken Calvert (Calif.), Rodney P. Frelinghuysen (N.J.), Kay Granger (Tex.), Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (Calif.), Todd Tiahrt (Kan.), Roger Wicker (Miss.) and Joe Wilson (S.C.).

As would be expected, attending this event is an honor, albeit an expensive one. A "Host" PAC runs you $5,000 -- though maybe you can take home leftover bagels. You can be honored as a sponsoring PAC for $2,500, or you can make your individual donation for only $1,000. Please make checks payable to the Tom DeLay Congressional Committee.

Don't let your organization miss this opportunity to help DeLay. He'll thank you for it.

Sink or Swim

Speaking of DeLay, here's how the Cape Gazette in Lewes, Del., handled recent news about legal problems affecting P.R. executive Michael Scanlon, his former press secretary:

"Sean Scanlon, a Rehoboth Beach lifeguard, pleaded guilty to federal charges that he conspired to defraud American Indian tribes." The paper noted that he's "better known in Washington, D.C., circles as Michael."

"While Scanlon was known as ruthless in Washington," the paper said, "he was also a generous friend to many Rehoboth Beach lifeguards," let folks use his house and took some of them to Daytona Beach, Fla., for a lifesaving competition "aboard Scanlon's private jet." Those days are probably over, since he must pay $19 million in restitution.

"Rehoboth Beach officials took Scanlon's plea in stride," the article noted, "saying the case does not reflect negatively on the resort town." But Rehoboth Beach Mayor Sam Cooper said he doesn't think Scanlon will still be allowed to work as a lifeguard.

Standards there are higher than they are here.

Rice's Support Staff

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a record-setting globetrotter, has made it clear she travels for strategic reasons, not to attend boring annual talkfests.

So first she blew off the ministerial meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in July in Laos, an event that every secretary of state since George P. Schultz has attended. Then she took a pass on the Australian-U.S. ministerial meeting last month in Adelaide.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld went to that one, but not Rice, though she was in the area, in China, with President Bush.

And now she's headed off to Europe but skipping the ministerial conference of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), a human rights organization that has played a key role in the New Europe and the Balkans. This even though she's going to be within an hour or so by air of the meeting in Slovenia when she flies from Berlin to Romania.

Worse yet, those guys don't even rate Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick, who covered for Rice at the first two gatherings. The OSCE gets Undersecretary R. Nicholas Burns, who, an announcement said, will "deliver a message of strong U.S. support for the OSCE."

Really, really strong support.

Easy Diplomacy

Speaking of travels, public diplomacy czar Karen Hughes is now off to Central America with several business executives to "encourage private-sector assistance" for hurricane relief in the area.

Since taking the job in August, she has been to a half-dozen Muslim countries, including one trip to Egypt, Turkey and Saudi Arabia and other visits to Malaysia, Indonesia and Pakistan.

This trip, to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, promises not to be a hard sell. If there's any region in the world outside maybe Eastern Europe where people like us, it's Central America. A recent poll showed between 70 and 87 percent have a favorable view of the United States, with Honduras, Panama and El Salvador leading the way.

Score One for Alito

The Senate Judiciary Committee wants to make certain that Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. knows what he's getting into. The second question on the panel's required questionnaire is: "State the position for which you have been nominated." "Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States" Alito guessed. So far so good. (He has already gotten further than White House counsel Harriet Miers did.)

Defense lobbyists show support for Rep. Tom DeLay.Scanlon may hang up his lifeguard vest.